Sid Hillman Quartet

Sid Hillman Quartet, Vol. Two

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AllMusic Review by

It would almost be wrong not to say that Sid Hillman's voice sounds like a perfect blend of Wylie and Clem Snide's Eef Barzelay. One thing that Hillman doesn't share with those artists, however, is their sense of humor. His songs are serious business, a fact that becomes a little too clear as Volume Two unfolds. Hillman is a thoughtful songwriter, and for that he is commended, but his somber delivery varies so slightly from song to song that even the more rocking numbers feel sluggish. "Silver's More Pretty Than Gold" opens the album on a promising note, but a few songs later the album begins to crawl, and it doesn't ever really recover. There is a moment of redemption in "No Perfect World," but its momentum is immediately neutralized, and eventually wasted, in the unwavering melancholy of the final four songs. While the drowsy tempos darken the mood considerably (which is clearly the intent), it also obscures the meat of the songs, leaving the lyrics without a clear sense of purpose, and the fact that Hillman's vocals are often buried deep in the mix gives them a distant, timid quality. Exceptional melodies can thrive in this atmosphere, but unfortunately that isn't the case here, and while his earnestness is compelling, Volume Two's lack of diversity paints Hillman's talent as a little too one-dimensional.

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